On August 27, 2019, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Jordan Capone, age 24, of Mt. Pocono, was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment by U.S. District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion after entering a guilty plea for participation in a sex trafficking conspiracy, and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance at an earlier date. She faces an additional five years of supervised release following her prison sentence and must comply with sex offender registration and notification requirements. The CSE Institute first covered Capone’s case earlier this year.
Capone’s sentencing follows an investigation into the criminal organization known as the Black P-Stones. According to the fourth superseding indictment, the defendant and her co-conspirators allegedly “sexed” women into the gang by forcing females to engage in sex with gang members. Additionally, they recruited women to engage in sex acts for compensation in the area of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania and Maine. The co-conspirators took and posted photographs of women on, the now defunct, Backpage.com. The trafficking victims involved were threatened, forced and coerced with heroin and other drugs to engage in prostitution.
Gang controlled sex trafficking is a common subset of sex trafficking as a whole – occurring in at least thirty-five states. Gang trafficking differs from the pimp-controlled model of trafficking in that the gang unit offers a “familial” structure with all of members acting as traffickers. As with pimp-controlled trafficking, many trafficked persons do not see themselves as victims because of the manipulative relationship that was used to draw them in. Many women view being prostituted as their “role” as members within the gang; however, they are viewed as property by the other members. According to Shared Hope International, gangs can make as much as $450,000 per year per trafficking victim.
The CSE Institute commends the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Pennsylvania State Police, Maine State Police, Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, and Monroe County Police Department for their collaborative efforts throughout the investigation and their commitment to curbing gang violence. We also encourage authorities to focus on pursuing sex buyers who fuel the commercial sex industry. This strategy, known as the Nordic Model, attacks the demand for prostituted persons while decriminalizing prostituted persons themselves. Sadly, as long as there is demand from sex buyers, traffickers will find a way to exploit others to make a profit.
All viewed expressed herein are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law or of Villanova University.